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Susan Pinkney

E: research@cafonline.org


What are people thinking during Covid-19 in terms of giving?

6 April 2020 

How are charities and the act of giving being viewed during the coronavirus pandemic? With much of the world in lockdown, and many of the year’s biggest charity events and fundraisers cancelled or postponed, CAF has gauged how the public is responding. 

Widespread lockdown begins

As part of our ongoing polling work with YouGov, we used our late March survey to ask the general public questions around charitable giving and Covid-19. By way of context, this survey was carried out just after the UK Government introduced new 14 day self-isolation guidance for any household where someone was unwell through to just after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his March 23rd televised address to the nation that brought in widespread lockdown measures.

These results show us that just over one in five (22%) people say they will donate more to charity as a result of the crisis, but this is slightly offset by the 14% who say they will donate less.

Unsurprisingly, working age people reported that they will be giving less money to charity and are the most likely to say they are very worried about their finances. Indeed, according to Savanta research conducted over the weekend of March 28-29, 42% of people said Covid-19 has already decreased their disposable income, a rise of 5 percentage points in just over a week. YouGov separately found that a third of people are worried that they might miss a bill payment in the next 6 months. Amid this backdrop, fundraising income from individuals to charitable causes is an immediate concern as people facing sudden and wholly unexpected financial pressures hunker down to look after their family finances as best they can.

Looking ahead

The research that CAF has carried out also asked where people are likely to donate to in the next three months because of the crisis, and we see that NHS charities come out on top at 40%. Around a third (34%) say they will give to local charities but only 13% are likely to donate to international charities as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

As we have often noted in our annual UK Giving reports, previous research tells us that when there is a natural disaster abroad, the UK public rally to give and donations to international charities always rise to meet the need. However, with the coronavirus crisis now on the UK’s own doorstep, it appears that for the time being, people plan to give their money locally, either to NHS-associated charities, other frontline help or local charities.

At CAF, we have also published a dedicated Covid-19 insight section on our website charting some of the key findings as they become available. The aim is to help colleagues both in the UK and abroad to easily access the latest research, giving trends and analysis from our policy colleagues.

1 in 7 will donate less than usual

Publicly available research on public sentiment around the crisis

UK Polling

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